Companies are moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud, but IT professionals don't know how it will affect their job. I've heard this concern over and over at the dozens of software industry events I've attended over recent years.Benjamin Niaulin Product Manager @Sharegate, Top 25 SharePoint Influencer
More and more companies are using cloud computing technology over its older and clunkier ancestor, on-prem. The recent rise in the number of companies using Microsoft's latest cloud-based collaboration platform Office 365 is one example.
But according to Olivier Dupont Renaud, Sharegate Customer Experience Specialist, “Thousands of companies still need to make the move.”
It's clear that the IT teams yet to migrate need to get their skates on to help keep their companies afloat. But knowing how the cloud will impact their day-to-day is still... (wait for it) cloudy.
Here at Sharegate we decided to talk to our in-house IT team to learn exactly how moving to cloud computing is likely to impact your IT job.
Get Ready to Make a Bigger Impact on the Business.
Ask many people what the IT department does and you'll hear words like “troubleshooter”, and “technical maintenance”. The traditional role of IT is mainly to deliver projects to the business or provide technical support to employees, say fixing a glitchy computer or installing and updating applications.
Although IT's role has always been crucial to the smooth running of the organization, in the digital era, it's becoming paramount to business success: IT pros will shake off their troubleshooter label to become changemakers.
The time that admins will save when their companies are in the cloud will allow them to focus on the actions that will help drive significant organizational change. This is something that our IT team experience daily:
The cloud reduces the time I spend on resolving tickets and backing up data, so I can focus on stuff that makes a bigger difference to the business, like developing my knowledge of the latest technology or educating my colleagues.Patrick RaymondTechnical Front-end Support @Sharegate
Specifically, with cloud technology, IT pros will bring more value to the business by:
- Driving the business forward with the best tech and processes By investing more of their day in staying up-to-date on the latest technology trends, IT pros can spot opportunities to drive the organization forward with new business technology.
- Empowering employees to make technical decisions Currently, few IT teams have enough time to train users sufficiently on new technology, and user adoption rates suffer as a result.
But employees are now more tech-savvy than ever, and with the right training, they can take some IT management off IT's hands. The time that IT will save in the cloud allows them to spend more time training users, making sure they get the most out of any new software.
IT is a Synonym for “Human Enabler”.
All our interviewees agreed that cloud technology allows them to foster more meaningful relationships with humans in the business.
Cloud systems free up time to focus more on people in the business. Patrick Raymond told us: “The cloud allows me to focus on building relationships with people". This can positively impact business morale and the relationship between the IT department and the rest of the business.
By spending more time with people, I can build more trust, which helps them feel more confident and motivated. Without tech like the cloud, we'd have less time to help our users.Patrick RaymondTechnical Front-end Support @Sharegate
Also, cloud enables IT to give employees the tools to work how they want. Employees needs are changing: they want to collaborate and communicate with colleagues, while working remotely. Cloud-based solutions, for example collaboration platforms, like Office 365 or Google Apps, respond directly to these needs and can make employees lives a whole lot easier.
Think More, Think Differently.
Running a successful cloud-based infrastructure is as much about adapting the way you think about information technology as it is about learning to manage new systems.
Problems that arise in the cloud need to be managed differently to those in more traditional infrastructures, and IT pros need an open mind when it comes to approaching problems in the cloud.
People in IT gain flexibility and agility when using the cloud. But going there implies new ways of thinking about hardware, monitoring, and infrastructure management.Stéphane LapointeCloud Solution Specialist @Sharegate
The cloud also encourages IT teams to think creatively and strategically to find innovative solutions, which hasn't always been a big part of IT jobs. “The cloud gives us the opportunity to be more creative and strategic than ever and use our brain to create, innovate, and explore new ways of doing things.”, Stéphane added.
Think setting aside time to develop well-informed answers to questions like: “What's the best way to connect employees and make sure company data remains secure?”, rather than applying a quick-fix solution based on “what we've always done”.
Be Damn Good at One Thing.
Being an IT generalist used to cut it. But the reality is that technology is moving way too quickly for you to be good at absolutely everything.
Cloud technology is evolving all the time, and rapidly. And the skills you need to master the cloud alone, never mind other tech, are mounting up by the day.
There are so many things in the cloud ecosystem: data, infrastructure, development, and it's advancing so quickly. Azure went from 17 data centers to 50 in a few years and everything points toward the platform expanding even more aggressively in future. It will be impossible to follow everything and stay up-to-date.Stéphane LapointeCloud Solution Specialist @Sharegate
One answer is to stop trying to master every area of IT and focusing on one that interests you. Stephane predicts that specializing will be necessary in the near future: “You may just be able to keep your head above water now, but over the next three years, you will have no choice but to specialize.”
This trend is already reflected in the IT job market, where there's an increasing demand for IT specialists, including cloud computing, AI, and business intelligence specialists.
Say Howdy to Plenty More Job Opportunities
The rise of cloud computing has fundamentally changed the way IT teams work, so don't expect your day-to-day to stay the same as it is now. As Prashant Bhatnagar from IBM Cloud puts it: “IT job roles and responsibilities have changed as a cloud-based delivery model has become the norm for IT infrastructure”.
Although some IT professionals are still anxious about these changes, there's a very good reason not to be afraid:
Changes in the world of IT, whether it's cloud, AI or something else will always impact jobs. But these changes always open a ton of exciting new opportunities.Mickael LavroffSystems Administrator @Sharegate
We've already seen a ton of new IT roles emerge with the cloud. Cloud architect, cloud security specialist, and cloud engineer are just a few titles you can find in an IT job search. These new roles reflect the needs of the workplace today:
Thanks to the cloud, IT teams no longer need to be the gatekeepers of which resources are created and used. Rather, they need to be more empathetic and work in closer collaboration with other teams than before, hence, the creation of new job opportunities like DevOps.Benoit RenaudIT Director @Sharegate
So, in IT, as in life, evolution is a certainty. And the only way to thrive is to embrace it.